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Gas Price Woes? Not For SAE Supermileage Cars

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Michigan Technological University's Supermileage competition entry.

Michigan Technological University’s Supermileage competition entry.

(credit: istock) Technology Report
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WARRENDALE, Pa. — Given the cost of fuel, collegiate teams in SAE International’s Supermileage engineering competition could be the envy of many drivers who are experiencing sticker shock at the pumps.

Their hand-built competition vehicles can get 1,000, 2,000, even up to 3,000 miles per gallon. The vehicles will be featured in the event that will be held June 7-8 at the Eaton Corp. Proving Grounds in Marshall.

Hosted by Eaton since its inception more than 30 years ago as a way to generate public awareness in the area of fuel economy, the Supermileage competition offers a simple yet challenging goal: to build a one-person, fuel-efficient vehicle based around a one-cylinder, four-cycle engine. (Engines are donated by Briggs & Stratton).

In this competition, the highest mpg average over a 9.6 mile course wins the event.

There are nearly 30 collegiate teams entered in this year’s competition. Teams represent schools from Canada, Mexico, Pakistan and the United States.

Michigan’s three teams in the competition hail from Calvin College in Grand Rapids (see www.calvin.edu/academic/engineering/2011-12-team6/); Michigan Technological University in Houghton (see www.enterprise.mtu.edu/SSE/) and the University of Michigan’s main campus in Ann Arbor (see http://umsm.engin.umich.edu/?page_id=11).

The event begins Thursday with technical inspection at 10 a.m. and practice from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, official vehicle runs will take place on the track from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Supermileage is part of SAE International’s Collegiate Design Series. Other competitions in the series include Baja SAE, Clean Snowmobile Challenge, Formula SAE and Aero Design.

Eaton’s partnership with SAE International in Supermileage stems from its expansive portfolio of automotive products that deliver enhanced fuel economy ratings by improving overall and specific system efficiencies. The company also has a strong commitment to encouraging young engineers to pursue careers in the automotive industry.

SAE International is a global association of more than 133,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries. More at www.sae.org.

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